High Representative for Foreign Affairs/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır issued this statement following a working dinner tonight in Brussels, ahead of tomorrow's European Union-Turkey Association Council:
"Turkey and the EU are key partners and strategic allies in our region. The meeting tonight provided us with the opportunity to discuss issues high on both our agendas.
Accession negotiations remain the cornerstone of EU-Turkey relations. We underlined the importance of concrete steps to revive the accession negotiations, including in the area of rule of law and the justice sector as well as the economic sector. The EU and Turkey will also continue cooperation on other shared priorities, including trade and the modernisation of the Customs Union, energy and visa liberalisation. On the accession process specific discussions took place on how to further progress towards opening chapter 17.
In particular we focused on the migration challenge, which has been brought so sharply into focus by the recent tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea. We agreed to ask our services to prepare a plan to enhance our cooperation with a view to implementing the conclusions of the Special European Council on 23 April that called for a reinforced cooperation between the EU and Turkey on preventing illegal migration flows. The EU will also reinforce the capacity of its delegation in Ankara to work closely with Turkey on the migration challenges.
Turkey continues to play an outstanding humanitarian role by providing shelter and safety to almost two million Syrians and Iraqis under temporary protection on its own soil. The EU intends to continue to seek ways to provide support to Turkey. We are now using the new EU Trust Fund for Syria to provide further additional dedicated help to Turkey. In this context, an amount of 18 million euro under IPA is expected to be shortly made available to provide help in the fields of food supply and education.
The situation in the region was discussed more generally, in particular the need to tackle the terrorist threat. We agreed that cooperation between the EU and Turkey can and should be further intensified and that further concrete areas of cooperation are to be identified urgently.
The EU welcomes Turkey’s important contributions to the EU operations and missions.
We also welcomed the resumption of Cyprus settlement talks and agreed that we will continue to give full, resolute and practical support to the efforts of UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Mr Barth Eide to make real progress on this essential dossier in the coming weeks and months."